Thursday 20 January 2011


Well, here it is, a new year, and I am feeling the need for a new blog now that my lovely novel A BOY CALLED M.O.U.S.E is out there roaming the world.

It's been a whirlwind of a year - often without the time to blog about what I've been doing, where I've been and what's been happening, let alone all the lovely reviews that my boy Mouse gathered.

And there's also things I've wanted to blog about - like the wonderful cover for Mouse's paperback version, which has to be secret until it is finalised. And things I haven't been able to mention, such as my big wranglings with the current Tome Two aka the Work In Progress. But with 2011 rattling its way through January, I need to move on.

However, you can still catch up with what I'm doing over in my other blog Penny Dolan's Diary.

Or you can watch out for my occasional posts as part of the Scattered Authors Society Group blog: Awfully Big Blog Adventure.

Or I may even be inspired to pop up somewhere else, and if so you'd be most welcome. Thanks for keeping me company for the last while. Happy reading and writing, people!

Saturday 6 November 2010

The Way Through the Woods

I am just typing up Kipling's familiar poem. I will, possibly, read it aloud during some creative writing workshops on the theme of trees. And I have just realised - though I must have seen it so many times before - that the poem itself uses the word "road", not "way".

Think I'll have to talk to my young writers about that word. "Road" now is petrol-fumed, tarmac-crusted and noisy. I hope their imaginations will reach beyond the A1 and M62.

Can recall finding the Carrick Roads on a map. A highly pleasurable language leap.

Wednesday 3 November 2010


There's lots of attention all round the media for the eminent and glossy NaNoWriMo - see Nicola Morgan's blog - and all praise to the energy and organsiation of it. But it feels too much for me, especially as I'm in the middle of something that needs to be worked on with a bit of care, not free writing.

So I'm going to opt for a much smaller version, a sort of brisk, self-made "Not the NaNoWriMo". As it may be a bonfire of my vanities, I'm getting ready to start properly on Friday 5th November.

My intention is to keep a much sharper count of how many words actually written - no matter how few they are - and how long I've truly been working on the screen or the notebook - minutes or hours. Though I won't be posting any numbers here.

With or without a timer, but spending definite time. Keeping that butt on that seat. That pen on the page. Those eyes on the screen. 15 mins focused attention on the plot problem and more. All the sort of things I've read in those How To books and that might - after a random summer - re-establish a good working pattern. Wish me luck.

I've mentioned this over on the Scattered Authors balaclava forum if any SAS members reading this post wants or needs to come along for the write?

Saturday 30 October 2010

Why No Blog?

So, weeks have passed since my Big Publication Date, so why no blog?

Because Bloomsbury suddenly asked me to do other kinds of writing around A BOY CALLED MOUSE! For example, a Young Writer questionnaire here, a Big Issue (Wales & Scotland only)piece on my ideas for the Five Books A Child Should Read Before 11 there, a short story for Bloomsbury's 247 Writing Project (check out their site), a Story Starter for WriteAway, the signing of 250 bookplates - my mind grows dim. It was BUSY, okay?

Plus lovely times visiting Huddersfield Grammar School and Lindley Junior School c/o Sonia Benster of the Children's Bookshop and also St John of Beverley Primary School as part of Beverley Literature Festival. And a few other schools and writing projects alongside. And tidying my work-room which was neccesary although not a strictly useful task to have begun back at the start of October.

But there has been time for a bottle of champagne to drink and a big bouquet of flowers from a Near & Dear, so all has not been been suffering. . . More soon!

Monday 4 October 2010

Today's the day! Taraaaaa!

Well, it's here! Today's the day that my novel, A Boy Called M.O.U.S.E, is officially published.

I am just so very pleased and relieved that several people who have read the book seem to like it, and that the older KS2/junior children seem keen to read it too.

No party, fireworks or champagne, though might try a couple of those later when its not such a busy week. Instead I spent the day at a very nice school over near York that had a most interesting spiral staircase and some spooky stories that made my writing shoulderblades get itchy. (Mouse also got a great reception over in schools in Huddersfield last week too.)

Morever, to my surprise, I also feel as if I've been freed up to continue with the next book in the sequence too, now.

Just a few visits to go before now and then . . .

Tuesday 21 September 2010


Well, it's suddenly getting very busy here! The Journey to the Centre of the Earth adaptation is now off and away. But - hooray - I now have my set of author copies of A Boy Called Mouse, and very handsome they look. They seem to have arrived at the Amazon warehouse too, as someone's just called me to say their copy has now been dispatched.

Though I haven't had time to read my copy through yet, which I'm longing to do. Suddenly I'm writing a Mouse-related short story for the next Puffin Post. Deadline Friday! Be back soon.

Thursday 9 September 2010

So it's not only me!

Oh, Jules! At the moment, I am working most briskly on an adaptation of Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and was amused, working my way through the pages, to find a plot full of small holes, and by that I don't mean Verne's Very Bad Science.

For example, the luggage that filled a garden in Germany and a cottage on arrival in Iceland becomes small enough to fit on the back of two Icelandic horses for the cross country journey. Then, after hardly more than a hint about the kit being carried UP the volcano by a few local men (and the horses never mentioned again, munch, munch) there is no account of these helpers going back!

So is this why Hans (the strong-but-silent-man-of-all-work and guide) ropes Axel and Uncle Otto together as they descend the crater? Had the porters already fallen into the fiery crucible? Or is it a cover up? Were the porters pushed? Must avoid such ripples in the imagination and pace onwards.

Must add that, studying my notes, I feel faintly relieved that I am not the only one who repeats phrases over and over again when writing. Yours, trembling again with fear and terror, Penny